In this issue of the newsletter, your healers at Pacific Naturopathic address the confusing and dramatic world of hormones and their various effects on the body. Dr. Connie muses on the world of endocrinology; Dr. Marcel offers his thoughts on the potential dangers of testosterone therapy in men; Dr. Corrine writes on the connections between the glands; Dr. Connie opens windows into the world of functional endocrinology and m,menopause; and Jane Hernandez writes about managing the damaging effects of cortisol on the body.
The power of hormonal activity in the body is so profound that it lends itself to thoughtful quotes:
Dr. Connie, Dr. Marcel, Dr. Corrine and your care team at Pacific Naturopathic and the Hernandez Center for Adjunctive Cancer Care
Dr. Connie's Musings...
|Dr. Connie muses during a hike in Hawaii|
Musings on Endocrinology
The endocrine system has always held a great fascination for me.
My earliest interest was in the pineal gland, a gland that has yet to generate the magnitude of interest and understanding it undoubtedly will, as the sciences of energy and matter continue to converge. In my earlier days (the early 70's), I was enamored with books such as Sheila Ostrander's Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain and Louise Lacey's Lunaception. I marveled at the exposition of the connection between solar and lunar cycles, the tides of the oceans, the pineal gland, and women's fertility cycles.
What was news to me then is no longer news today, having been proven in a multitude of ways, though the ability to consistently and accurately work with that knowledge eludes our control. The energy of the universe funnels through energy centers in our bodies with their correspondent endocrine glands and nerve plexuses to control the functioning of our human bodies. This interaction does not relate to our physical bodies alone, but to our multidimensional anatomy, our energy bodies, our minds, our emotions.
The science of endocrinology thus takes on another level of complexity. What is within our bodies mirrors what is outside of our bodies, and what we imagine is outside of our bodies reflects that which is inside. Solar events, electromagnetic fields, and emotional and spiritual states of consciousness connect with our energy bodies through subtle energy centers and with our physical bodies through the endocrine glands.
The limitations of conventional endocrinology are apparent. Deciding that all is well when hormones can be measured to be within the 5th and 95th percentile of the general (not necessarily well) population, and merely offering a drug or a hormone when a gland has statistically speaking lost its function, just won't do.
Functional endocrinology asks whether the function of the gland is optimal, and if not, why not. It endeavors to promote the function of the gland, and to understand the multiple relationships of each gland. The interconnectedness is such that you cannot tinker with an isolated hormone from one gland and suppose that by changing it you will not change everything else in the bargain. And simply providing cortisol to a patient with adrenal deficiency could never be the end of the story. Whole body, mental, emotional, spiritual and environmental factors must be taken into account.
Within functional endocrinology, when we do opt for a hormonal correction, we use what are known as "bio-identical" hormones. These hormones are manufactured to be identical to those naturally found in the human bodies. (Premarin, which has caused so much disruption to women's bodies, contains estrogen that is bio-identical to horse bodies, not human bodies).
In our pharmaceutical culture, hormone look-a-likes are manufactured to be slightly dissimilar to human hormones so that they can be patented and sold. Their molecular dissimilarity, however, causes them to behave in dissimilar ways and thereby disturb natural functioning.
One of my medical mentors, Dr. Jonathan Wright, succinctly summarizes the goal of functional endocrinology when he says "copy nature, copy nature, copy nature." The ultimate naturopathic goal in functional endocrinology would be to free the Vix Medicatrix Naturae, the healing power of nature, to work in innately wise ways through the endocrine system.
The Dangerous World of Testosterone Replacement
Therapy in Men
I have long thought that drug commercials on TV are both misleading and immoral. On the one hand you see a happy, healthy person, couple or group of people engaged in a fun activity in a lovely setting. Then you hear a litany of side effects of the drug being touted. The visual setting clearly belies the truth of what is being described. As a doctor with one of my focuses being on men's health, I find the ads for testosterone boosters particularly misleading.
Yes, in most men, testosterone levels in the body do decrease as we age. The common assumption is that by replacing the hormone with a testosterone stimulant or straight on testosterone it will remedy experience of lowered libido, diminished energy and other situations that men have as they enter andropause. If you haven't heard this word before, andropause means male menopause.
Andropause, like menopause, is caused by a hormonal shift attributed to the aging process. The difference is that in men this hormonal shift can take as long as 15 years, while in women it occurs in a much shorter period of time. The protracted hormone shift gives men a chance to adapt slowly, sometimes hardly noticing the shifts, so we are only aware of the changes when we make a personal historical functional comparison.
So when the TV ads for testosterone enhancers appear, they touch sensitive chords in men, bringing into awareness the decline in quality of life most aging men experience. The ads keep coming, so men must be responding. Most men I work with as a doctor acknowledge this decline, and their wish is to just enjoy the highest quality of life possible until the inevitable occurs.
The problem with testosterone enhancement or testosterone supplements is how the body breaks down testosterone. The flow chart below illustrates the hormone cascade.
Now here is the most important part of this column. The right (blue) side of the chart shows how testosterone is metabolized to estradiol, then estrone and estriol. Estradiol is one of the main causative factors in prostrate cancer. So if testosterone is increased, the question is, what will that do to the estradiol levels? Prostate cancer will impact a man's quality of life to a far greater extent than merely having low testosterone.
The good news is that salivary hormone testing can generate the male hormonal cascade specifically for each individual, allowing the doctor to safely adjust hormones at the appropriate therapeutic level. Your doctor can order the test kits here.
For more on Dr. Marcel's work click HERE.
Adrenal, Thyroid and Ovaries
Corrine Wang, N.D.
Hormones play a huge role in our energy levels, mood, and overall health. With imbalances, they can cause symptoms like fatigue, depression and anxiety, PMS, eczema, acne, low libido, weight gain, and even digestive issues.
Many women often come in to see me first with complaints of fatigue and or difficulty around weight loss. These women frequently will also will have menstrual issues, whether it being irregular cycles or bad PMS. The interplay of the adrenal glands, thyroid gland, and ovaries is significant, and an imbalance in one area can cause the other areas to tip.
For instance, where we are in the heart of Silicon Valley, the fast-paced demanding jobs and lifestyles don't leave a lot of room and space to rest and restore. This constant drive to keep up, whether it is with work, hobbies, kids, etc. takes a toll on our adrenal glands. Over time, our adrenal glands which put out the long-term stress hormone, cortisol, as well as the short-term hormones, epinephrine and norepinephrine, start to fall and production of these hormones decrease.
Eventually, as cortisol falls, many symptoms can arise, including fatigue, anxiety, more colds/flus, increased allergies to foods, increased hay fever, skin conditions like hives, eczema, or psoriasis, increased sweating, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, and difficulty handling stressors that may not have been a problem before. On top of this, stress can also affect the thyroid by decreasing amounts of active thyroid hormone circulating in the blood. When thyroid hormones begin to drop, this will also impact people's energy levels along with decreasing metabolism, making people feel more lethargic, cold, have a tendency to gain weight or have difficulty losing weight, and can also make people more prone to depression.
Stress affects the balance of sex hormones as well, which can lead to hormonal imbalances like estrogen dominance, and PMS symptoms can increase, or cycles can become irregular and even stop completely. Because there is a close connection between the adrenals, thyroid, and ovaries, I often look at all of these areas at once through symptoms and lab work and support the areas that need to be balanced out.
If any of the symptoms mentioned above sound familiar, please contact us to get a full workup of your health and hormones and start the path back towards a vibrant, healthy life!
For more information or to make an appointment
please contact us at (650) 917-1121.
Functional Endocrinology and the Management of Menopause
It is widely understood that one teaches best that which one most needs to know. That would be a logical explanation as to why I found myself teaching natural birth control and working with premenstrual syndrome in my 20's, addressing post partum issues in my 30's, and now focusing primarily (though by no means exclusively) on women in their perimenopausal, menopausal, and post menopausal years.
Life in the 21st century requires much more of menopausal women than in previous times. Historically, women were married in their early teens, bore children in their late teens, ruled countries in their early 20's, and were then possibly beheaded or sent off to a nunnery for the duration. These days, women of transitional age may be rearing adolescent children, caring for senile parents, running companies. We expect that we will be up for the challenge... body, mind, and spirit.
When expectations fail to meet the challenge, women come to the office for bio identical hormones. Sometimes those hormones are just the ticket. Estrogen and progesterone impact mood, energy and all body systems, though attempting to replace missing sex hormones is not necessarily an answer. In perimenopause (that period of hormonal shifting which can occur over as much as ten years), a first choice might be nutritional and botanical support to restore optimal hormonal production. Optimizing thyroid and adrenal function will also often stabilize irregular cycles and cyclic emotional turmoil.
Even when hormones are clearly deficient as a result of physiologic, chemical, or surgical menopause, hormones are not always the answer. Just as some women sail through their reproductive years, other women sail through menopause. In that case, we offer simple hormonal and non hormonal solutions to simple problems. When the sole issue is vaginal atrophy, for example, we offer estriol vaginal suppositories. When there are multiple hormonally related issues, we do opt for bio-identical hormonal replacement therapy, aka bHRT. The use of bHRT entails individualizing a course of estrogen and/or progesterone and/or testosterone, in forms and dosages safe and suitable for the patient.
Why would we simply not go immediately to bHRT? That would be because we humans are not quite smart enough to understand the myriad consequences of all that we do. Hormones impact everything about us. Years of experimentation on human subjects (women) with Premarin and Provera, and inadequate studies of their effects definitively proved that. Though bio identical hormones make a whole lot more sense, we don't yet have the benefit of the lessons from long term use. Considering that the healing force of nature is more apt to get it right than we are, attempting to stimulate and unblock that vital force first would be a good move.
In addition, we might remember that menopause is not called "the change" for nothing. In this change, we re evaluate who we are, how we are living our lives, what our inner callings might be. As emerging elders, it would not be wise to assume that hormone replacement alone, whether bio identical or not, would be the answer to the discomfort we feel.
Though transitions can be terrifying, they can also be transformational. As naturopathic doctors practicing functional endocrinology, we attempt to facilitate a transformational menopausal experience by working on multiple levels of reality.
Find out more about Dr. Connie's work HERE.
Taming the Tiger -
Calming the Damaging Effects
of Cortisol on Your Body
Back in the days of our ancestors it was important to have an emergency system built into our bodies to help us flee the saber toothed tigers roaming the land.
Danger required instant activation and that is what the hormone cortisol does.
This all starts in a part of the brain called the amygdala which alerts us to the fact that trouble is nearby. The body is then mobilized into a "fight or flight" response to release cortisol. This works very well when we have to react quickly to danger.
However, the body does not always distinguish the difference between a real threat and something that relates to a past experience that is no longer an actual threat.
For example, maybe as a child there was an event at school when you had to give a report in front of the class. Perhaps you were so nervous that it made you stutter repeatedly causing the class to laugh at you. This can cause a lifetime deep fear of speaking in front of people. So the amygdala can be set off any time you have to give a report at work or even a toast at your daughter's wedding.
The body has a hard time distinguishing between a real threat and what is perceived as a threat. So why is this a problem?
Well, everyday in our stress-filled lives there are many small fight or flight experiences when the hormone cortisol is released. This has a negative cumulative effect on the body. Over time cortisol is detrimental to healthy muscle and bone, causes digestion problems, slows down healing and weakens your immune system.
One easy way to tame the stress response is to use EFT Tapping to turn off the amygdala's alarm system.
With EFT Tapping you tap your fingers on the acupuncture meridian end points and it sends a calming response to the body. It allows the amygdala to breathe a sigh of relief and calm down. This effectively lowers the cortisol level and the fight or flight response.
There are many issues that affect our stress response - PTSD, trauma, phobias that EFT has demonstrated superior effectiveness in healing. But it is also successful in treating relationship problems, weight loss, pain, financial problems - any of the usual problems we confront every day.
The best part is that you can learn to use EFT Tapping and always have a handy tool to tame your inner tiger.
Read more about Jane Hernandez's transformative work HERE.
Vitamin B12 Injections
IV Therapy Package Pricing
* Vitamin B12 is necessary for metabolism, maintaining energy levels, and can help with mood and preventing other diseases down the road.
* With B12 deficiency, people can feel fatigued and depressed, and a deficiency can play a role in developing cardiovascular disease and dementia as well.
* Because B12 is not very well absorbed through oral supplementation, B12 injections are an effective way to bypass the digestive tract, boost levels, and effect a quicker change in the body.
* Like with intravenous therapy, many people will often notice a change in their symptoms or energy levels the day of the injection and into the following days or week after the injection.
What are the benefits of B12?
- Increased energy
- Support for a healthy immune system
- Increased metabolism
- Reduced stress and improved sleep
- Improved mood
- Improved memory
- Reduced risk of heart attack and stroke
- Protection against Alzheimer's disease
Pacific Naturopathic will be offering B12 happy hours from 1:30-3:30 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. No appointment necessary. Just phone and let us know you are coming.
Your in and out me will be less than five minutes.
B12 injections for existing patients are only $25. Each additional nutrient such as B-complex or other fat-burning ingredients can be added for an extra $10.
Cost for new patients will be $60, which includes both the basic injection and a 15 minute initial health assessment.
To get your B12 injection, please contact us at (650) 917-1121 and let us know you are coming.
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IV Therapy Packages
Pacific Naturopathic is now offering
packages of intravenous nutrient therapies!
Because a series of IV therapies are beneficial for most conditions, we are now offering our basic nutrient bags (Myers cocktail) at a discounted price when bought in a package.
Choices include a package of 6 or 8 infusions:
- Package of 6 - $750 ($125/infusion, a savings of $90)
- Package of 8 - $960 ($120/ infusion, a savings of $160)
1) For your safety, a short office visit ($60) is necessary before the first infusion;
2) The full package price must be paid at the time of the first infusion;
3) This offer is valid for Myers cocktail packages only.
Please contact us at (650) 917-1121
to start your infusions program!
Rapid Pain Relief
With Elijah Fee
Elijah Free, MH, CMI, CMT
Elijah Free's approach to helping his patients deal with physical pain has been described as bordering on miraculous. Elijah is also a Master Herbalist who designs and produces all of his own herbal products for his healing practice. He is an herbal product designer for Ridgecrest Herb Company.
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Elijah Free is a healer, specializing in pain elimination of all types, both mechanical and metabolic. He is a master medical herbalist with numerous specialties, a researcher and product designer for his own label; Earth Friend Herb Co.
Elijah is the author of "Apprentice to Angels," and a U.S. patent holder for a formula to eradicate fibromyaligia. He was recently granted a 501-C3 from the IRS as a medical study, something almost exclusively for institutions such as Stanford, hospitals or pharmaceutical companies.
Bringourvetsallthewayhome.org is all about Elijah's work with an herbal formula for PTSD that restores the lives to veterans and anyone else with this condition. A documentary video will be available later this fall about this project. A video on fibromyaligia can be seen at rapidpainelimination.com
To schedule an
appointment with Elijah,
please phone 650-917-1121.
Breast Thermography at
- endocrinology and breast health -
In addition to providing what are known as thermal risk ratings, breast thermography reports provide a number known as the Hormonal Grade. The Hormonal Grade ranges from 0 to 4, and is an estimate of estrogen stimulation of the breast tissue, an estimate that can be confounded by mild whole breast inflammation or congested lymph.
Estrogen stimulation can be seen on the thermography in the pattern of the vasculature. A breast that is shot through with blood vessels is likely a Hormonal Grade 4, and might be seen in a lactating woman. One might see a Hormonal Grade 0 or 1 in a post menopausal woman. One would also hope to see a low hormonal grade in any woman with an estrogen receptor positive breast cancer.
The majority of thermography readings come through with a Hormonal Grade 2 or 3. Though this estrogen influence often worries patients, it must be considered in the context of presence or absence of symptoms of estrogen imbalance in the person as a whole. The question as to what to do about imbalance is in the realm of functional endocrinology.
Read more about
Pacific Naturopathic here.
Pacific Naturopathic Hawaii:
a Spectacular Location
for Island Adventures
Check Future Openings
(then click on "Calendar")
|Snowy Mauna Kea summit on the Big Island of Hawaii|
The Pacific Naturopathic Retreat Center property was purchased in 1999, and Drs. Connie and Marcel have been working from that time to create a permitted integrated naturopathic care center.
The naturopathic elements have been there from the beginning... earth, air, water, fire and ether. And those patients who have been lucky enough to be visiting while Drs Connie and Marcel are in residence have benefited from naturopathic consultations. Infrared sauna, hot tub and cold tub treatments are always available. In process now is the mandated construction of a handicapped accessible restroom and office, soon to be providing I.V. therapies to Hawaii patients and mainland visitors.
For the time being, the Retreat Center functions as a gorgeous vacation rental, under the meticulous care of Drs Connie and Marcel's close longterm friends. Guests from all over the world have marveled at the beauty of the Hamakua Coast, and make annual pilgrimages to our retreat to rest and rejuvenate.
Why not treat yourself to a refreshing respite from daily life? Check out our website and check out this website for information on the Big Island.
Isn't it time you treated yourself to a magical experience?
Come, enjoy, rejuvenate and reinvent yourself.
Openings available from May.
For more information, please visit our dedicated web site.
The Hernandez Center for Adjunctive Cancer Care
News and Commentary on Cancer Topics
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What We Offer at the Hernandez Center
for Adjunctive Cancer Care
Our cancer patients often ask us to give them an estimate of the effectiveness of therapy at the Hernandez Center for Adjunctive Cancer Care. We respond that
our entire focus is on helping our patients stay healthy, upbeat and positive.
The truth is that the botanical and nutritional therapies we offer (including intravenous vitamin C), although 'adjunctive' in nature, have powerful documented actions in decreasing inflammation, reducing tumor load and attacking cancer stem cells.
Our mind/body approaches are focused on transformation of experience. And our bodywork approaches help reduce muscular pain, resolve lymph drainage problems and relieve stress.
The hope we offer is not that of a miraculous cure, although we are definitely open to miracles, but the hope of a life lived to the fullest in dignity and understanding, for however long that may be.
Melatonin and Cancer Treatment
Connie Hernandez, ND
While most people are familiar with the use of low dose melatonin to promote sleep, our cancer patients are sometimes surprised when we recommend melatonin in endocrine cancers.
In fact, melatonin has many actions beneficial to the treatment of certain cancers. Among other things, melatonin can block estrogen receptors, activate the selfdestruction of tumor cells, protect bone marrow cells in chemotherapy, and protect the lining of the stomach during chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
We will typically use 20 mg of melatonin daily in the treatment of colon, breast, endometrial and prostate cancers, as well as in melanoma. It is in the literature that this dose of melatonin can disrupt sleep, but it is not usual, in our clinical experience, that it does so. Before using melatonin in this dosage, check with your health care team, as the use of melatonin may be contraindicated in autoimmunity and in certain treatment regimes, and melatonin may interact with other medications.
Interested in finding out more about the cancer treatment diet?
Please phone us for an appointment at:
What is the Gerson Therapy
for Cancer Treatment?
Marcel Hernandez, ND
The Gerson diet was developed by Dr. Max Gerson in the 1920s and 1930s. The diet is primarily a cleansing diet, based on the premise that a person who has cancer has very high levels of toxins in the body and these need to be removed in order for the cancer to be healed.
The Gerson approach uses certain combinations of fruit and vegetable juices and frequent administration of enemas. People using the Gerson diet will consume specially formulated vegetarian meals, large amounts of fruit and vegetable juice, and 4 or more coffee enemas per day.
The Gerson diet can easily be done at home, but it is best used when the patient has a committed care provider to assist with the therapy. Some people go to the Gerson Clinic in Mexico and then continue the therapy at home after they begin to recover. Dr. Mercola presents an excellent discussion of cancer and the Gerson Method HERE.
Please phone us at 650-917-1121 for more information about adjunctive cancer therapies
Other I.V. Therapies Offered at Pacific Naturopathic and the Hernandez Center
Corrine Wang, N.D.
Many people have already heard about intravenous vitamin C as a complementary cancer therapy to help stimulate the immune system as well as being directly cytotoxic to cancer cells. We are often using this therapy at the Hernandez Center for our cancer patients. What people may not know is that we also have many other IV therapies that are also very helpful in supporting our cancer patients depending on their symptoms and what they need.
We often give a nutrient IV in between IV vitamin C sessions, which helps to provide more energy and rebuild our patients that may be feeling fatigued or have low blood counts.
We also have other anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer therapies like IV curcumin (turmeric) or IV silibinin (from milk thistle).
Another IV treatment that can help cancer patients from losing more weight or to help them gain weight is an infusion that includes a variety of amino acids.
These are just a few of the protocols we have for our cancer patients. For more information or to set up an appointment, please contact us at the Hernandez Center at (650) 917-1121.
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The Hernandez Center
for Adjunctive Cancer Care
2570 W. El Camino Real, Suite 111
Mountain View, CA 94040
650-917-1121 (v) * 650-917-1127 (f)